By Mirembe Martina
People who snore are most likely to have heart attacks more than people who smoke or the obese according to researchers.
Researchers warn that snoring could also be an early sign of health problems. Snoring can cause a thickening of arteries which can lead to brain haemorrhages, strokes and heart attacks.
Research shows that around a quarter of women and four in ten men are frequent snorers. American researchers say the condition is as serious as having high blood pressure and urge snorers to seek medical advice.
Researchers from the University of Detroit found that frequent snorers are more likely to develop a thickening of the carotid artery – which supplies oxygenated blood to the brain. It has also been linked to hardening of other arteries in the body and can lead to heart attacks, strokes and brain haemorrhages.
The research which was led by Dr Robert Deeb, from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit concluded that whereas isolated snoring may not be harmful, it might be a warning sign. “Our study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting isolated snoring may not be as benign as first suspected. So instead of kicking your snoring bed partner out of the room or spending sleepless nights elbowing him or her, seek out medical treatment for the snorer.’ Dr Deeb and his colleagues studied 54 men and women aged 18 to 50. They had all filled in questionnaires about their snoring habits and then had ultrasound scans to look at the thickness of their carotid artery. Snoring is generally regarded as a cosmetic issue by health insurance, requiring significant expenses by patients. We are hoping to change that thinking so patients can get the early treatment they need, before more serious health issues arise,” Dr. Debb said.
The research concluded that the innermost layers of the artery walls were far thicker among the snorers than the other adults and it is caused by the constant vibrations of the snoring which results in inflammation.
“Patients need to seek treatment in the same way they would if they had sleep apnoea, high blood pressure or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Debb added.
The study of 1,500 adults found that moderate snorers were at 4.8 times greater risk of death.